Saturday, January 29, 2011

Autumn Asks: Do You Have A Sweet Tooth?

I was awarded a sweet little award today. Danie over at Looking for My Punk Rock Girl awarded it to me. And I'm so glad she did. Not because I feel especially sweet or anything...but because I went to her blog and read through it as I didn't recognize her name.

LOVE the way this young woman writes and expresses herself. Love that she loves old movies and books and music I love. I am looking forward to reading her posts and seeing where she ends up in life. And Danie.....I'd love to see some of your paintings. Really. I would.

I also checked out the other blogs she awarded and loved them also. Some really good writers in the bunch.

Now...a quick side trip:

Mighty Mouse: "Mom, which one is my sweet tooth? Is it this one?"

Kid slays me.


So, as a winner of this award I am supposed to list 5 of my guilty pleasures:

1. Coca-Cola. Yep. You knew that one. Cancer in a can and I can't kick the habit.

2. Chai Latte from the coffee shop. Way too expensive, plus I'm not supposed to have milk. Don't do it often but I love them.

3. Books. I have book cases of them. Considering how often we move and how much they weight this is not a smart practice. But I'll just say it......the military libraries are not impressive.

4. Netflix. The three at a time and streaming leveling. I have my queue, hubs has his, teen has hers. Plus I have that sucker playing on the computer the whole time I'm in the quilting cave. Do you know how many cheesy B rate movies you can find on streaming???? Ahhhhh. Nerd heaven. Love it.

5. Lake house trips to see my favorite group of friends. Expensive. And worth so much more than I could ever spend.

Now its time for me to award the Sweet Blog award to 5 others:

Debbie at Suburb Sanity - because I didn't see it on Danie's blog list and I think she would love Debbie's writing.

Jane at Sew Create It - someone that I am just getting to know and really enjoy. She donates to Project Linus on a regular basis.

Wendy at Born In Our Hearts - another adoptive parent, sarcastic, mature (hah) parent who I totally get and hope to meet some day.

Quilting Ranny - because she truly is sweet. She is raising her grandkids, helps her grown kids and donates quilts all the time. I consider her an inspiration.

Krista at Spotted Stone - a new blog for me. Mom of three, living in Alaska and lots of outdoor family fun and quilting/sewing. I hate snow but she makes it look so good!


Monday, January 24, 2011

A Complaint Letter To The Crappiest Electric/Gas Company Billing Service Out There

...posted on my blog because, gasp(!), they do not provide residential customers with an email address or written address for complaints. What, allow a PAPER TRAIL of how much they suck???? No way. Instead they will list a phone number for you to call. Bet its farmed out to India or something. Not bothering. After all, what is that poor person on the other end of the phone going to do?? Nothing. And they aren't responsible for or able to fix anything anyways. Beautiful set up for a crappy company.

So - we live in military housing, right? Well, civilian run military housing. And non-military can live in it also if they meet certain criteria.

And one of the selling points of trying to get the military to move into old, crusty, poorly insulated, totally over priced for what you get and uglier than sin housing is the "government rate" utility bills.

Except the newest utility company that won this government contract got the wrong memo. Apparently they thought this was one of those charge the government $600 for a $6 wrench kind of deals. No dude. Its not the government paying this bill. It's little Joe Airman. You know, the one that doesn't make anywhere near as much as his civilian counterpart .... which is WHY they have to give health care, housing allowances and deals on bring them UP TO somewhere close to what a civilian makes.

So overcharging all winter last year -- to the tune of OVER $300 a month on electric/gas for a 1400 sq foot house...... Well, there was a whole lot of freezing and using the kids milk money to pay those bills by all the poor military saps unlucky enough to rent these houses.

Now, eventually that did get fixed in lowered bills over time for all the overcharges. But seriously? Are you proud of that? Shame on you.

And then what do we get the first month of this year? What? You couldn't go that long without trying to screw us again? Seriously?

So we pay our electric bills at the first of the month like we've all been doing this last year. And its higher than normal due to heating costs. So we are already tightening our belts all across the board. And the 15th of the month comes...along with another FULL MONTHS bill. So, we are being charged for two full months in one month or we must pay a late fee. Oh - and there is no grace period with this company.

What military family can do that???????? (Okay so we were covered but thats because we are Dave Ramsey fans and have an incredible budgeting system worked out that would sustain the strain until the next payday.)

You see, this company just decided that they were going to print the bills a little early this month, which in turn changes the due date.

You can imagine the panic. And the calls to housing. So housing works out to give us until Feb 5th to pay the bill. A ONE TIME exception for us.

WHAT???? Why are we being treated like people that don't pay our bills? And what company is so awful that they print bills whenever they feel like it instead of on a routine schedule? I'll tell you what company. One that was looking forward to a massive amount of $15 late fees to start the year with. I was very lucky I caught the was by accident.

And you know what else they said? To not forget we could have this bill on allotment and pulled directly out of our paychecks.

Aaaauuuummmmm....that definitely means you would have recieved a late fee as the allotment is paid on a certain date each month. (And this situation is exactly why I will not allow allotments or auto pays on bills.)

So, if you are a friend in this me a favor. Make sure and call housing and complain so we can get this company kicked to the curb. Women and children that are dealing with their husbands TDY, deployments and hazardous duty pay do NOT need this kind of crappy business practices shoved down our throats also.

These guys gotta go.

Friday, January 21, 2011

So What's Up.......

Car wreck two.

Kitchen flooded multiple times by washer. Drains snakes multiple times. Still not fixed.

Sparking sockets in the living room.

A broken garage door.

Snow. Snow. Snow.

Dryer not working. Lovely high pitched scream.

Strange puddle creeping out from under the fridge. Looks like Coke. Smells like rust.

Its been a week.

And 5 of these are currently occurring today.

And the hubs took leave to complete/catch up on some college work.

Heh. That ain't happen.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On My Mind.....

Over at Down To Earth, Friday's are On My Mind days. You post a photo of something that is one your mind TODAY and link back. So today is my first time joining in....because at least that way you guys will still know I'm alive and kicking. Even if I am buried in snow. (Rigghhhttttt say my friends who have been seriously dumped on this year.)

Spending lots of time in the grown up play room. Hubs put shelves up and finally moved into his space for real. I had to change all my stuff around because my extra table was on the wrong side to help with the actual quilting.

This is where you can find me the next couple of months as I work on a couple of big projects. Great place to be in snowy weather.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Autumn asks: What Did You....

....Do In 2010

...that you have never done before?

Just curious. As we should all learn and grow every year, I'm curious what you did.

I was trying to think of the new things I did last year. I don't have all that many. Or at least I didn't think I did.

Here's what I've got....

1. Went to DC for a college graduation. With hubs only. Now, we were in DC once before when we were moving to Iceland and that is where we flew out of. But that was in the middle of a move with the whole family so this one was better. LOL

2. Went canoeing. I rode in a canoe once before in my life but the things intimidate me. This time I actually used a paddle and had a great time. Even if it did pour down rain on us. Twice.

3. Read a bunch of new books listed in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

4. Tried free motion quilting.

5. Took a quilting class.

6. Took a plane to several different places, several different times, by myself for recreational purposes only. Totally unheard of due to the fact that we usually can't afford plane tickets, and I never take off by myself just to do something for myself. It doesn't suck.

7. Let my teen leave the house multiple times in clothing I don't approve of.

8. Turned a teen loose with a cell phone on my plan instead of a pay-as-you-go. And found out that my teen averages almost 8000 text messages a month. How many is that a day?

9. Bought clothes in a size I swore I would never wear.

10. Watched a tv series religiously and counted the days to the next episode. Ok - so it was The Walking Dead and there were only 6 episodes. Still - I've never followed a show before.

So now I'm thinking ahead and wondering what new thing to get into this year.

Can't really think of much that I'd like to do. I was going to go on my first cruise....but finances killed that one. Same with a birthday trip with my sister to Savannah (my birth place actually) for the St. Pat's celebration. Don't see trips this year.

I think most of my new stuff will be surprises instead of planned.

So what about you? What new things did you do this last year....and what new things do you WANT to do this year???

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm So NOT A Follower

So what's up with everyone wanting followers on their blogs???

Not that there is anything wrong with following someone or anything. But have you noticed how frantic and obsessive some bloggers are about followers? Flashbacks of Jr. High and High School. Is it a self worth/popularity thing? Is it all about the audience?

I'd go nuts if I was writing for an audience. Maybe that's why I don't pay much attention to the amount of followers I have. I'm just writing because we live so far away from our families that it keeps them in touch with what is going on in our world. Cause its not like they are calling or visiting or anything. Just saying. Plus, I just want to get the words out of my head -- because one day they might turn into voices....

I guess another reason for followers is to make money by attracting corporate attention and gaining advertising and sponsoring.

I was contacted by someone wanting to be my sponsor once. It was the nicest email and very personal and touching. They obviously had been through my whole blog and commented on many things.

But, wonderful as all that was.

The sponsorship and ad....

A Drug Rehab Facility.

Oh yes it was. Which I got the biggest laugh over. I still have the email because its just so nice and I like to read it occasionally for a giggle. Cause really, what DOES that say about my blog?

The rantings of a drug crazed 80's metal head all old and crusty now. I should have used that for the title of my blog. Its got a catchy kind of ring to it.

Anyways - back to the point. I just want to give the bloggers that want the followers so badly a couple of tips on how NOT to get followers:

#1. Music.

If you have music on your site, there is NO WAY I will follow you. Ever. (unless you are one of my bestest friends) You see, some of us have older computers. And a Magic Jack that runs our phone. And itunes. And a million other things going on at any given time. So when I click on your site and the music tries to load. Crashes my computer or locks it up or makes it so slow I yell unkind words at it.

Now, this is America and you can have whatever you want on your blog. After all, its YOUR blog. And music is soul touching. It affects us greatly. And we just want to share. Right?

Well, chances are I don't even like your style of music. So, if you are begging for followers, drop the music. There's no way I'm the only person that gets frustrated by what it does to my computer. Just trying to help.

(And this is not aimed at a couple of my friends who are right now wondering if I'm talking about them. I'm not. I'm talking about the follower collectors.)

#2 Over abundance of ads

I don't care how much I like your writing...if you have a million "commercials" on your blog chances are I'm not coming back. A few I get. It's nice to get a little money. But I actually don't come to peoples blogs to line their pockets or provide them with corporate an over abundance is a huge turn-off. See ya.

And sorry - but all those ads just look cluttered and junky. Have yet to see a site full of ads that looked "tastefully done". An ad is designed to take your money. That's its only point. You can't pretty that up.

#3 Give-aways that require you become a followers to participate.

Not coming back. Now, I'm not talking about the ones where they have 3 different ways to enter and that is one of them......I'm talking about the ones that the only way to have an entry is to become a follower. That is an obvious money grubbing motive. Total turn-off. Its like saying you are giving something away....but only to people with purple hair. (But lucky for you there are all kinds of people that will go out and dye their hair purple -- but again, you are limiting yourself because there are plenty of people that won't.)

So there you have it. A small list of reasons why this one person won't follow your blog. If you are a follower junkie and have slowed lately, you might want to try dropping the music, cutting back on ads or requiring your guests be followers and see if things pick up. You can always go back to it if there is no improvement.

And for all of my friends and blogs I read that don't require me to be a follower......I heart you.

I really do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Top 10 Photos of 2010

My friend TonnguMomma did a post on her top 10 photos of last year...and then asked us to share also.

One thing I found about last year is that I took almost NO photos. This did surprise me as I used to take millions of photos. It was something I loved to do. Crazy.

But I did manage to scrap up some photos that were fun. So here goes...

February saw us snowed under. And Mouse helped shovel....with a mop?

Creative use of chop sticks at Chinese New Year.

March brought Midsummer's Night Dream......

And crippling growing pains (which have returned after six months without problems).

May brought my first camping trip with my girls -- both as Girl Scouts
June brought a trip to the lake house
And a big chair in our hotel lobby

July was celebrated with a hotdog at the ball field......a first for the Mouse!

And August brought a week of fun with one of my favorite teens!

Songbird went to Homecoming...
And the Mouse made me a birthday hat and made me wear it.
And another trip to the lake house in November...
And finally.... a Cookie Camp-Out in November...

I did manage to come up with more than ten....but nothing for December. I stink.

So how about you? What are your top 10 photos for last year?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


So I have chosen my word for 2011.

The last two years I have held on to "love" more, love often, etc.

This year I have chosen "Embrace"

We have lots of changes in the wind at our house and I want to handle all of them well. I want to embrace new realities and challenges. I want to roll with the punches with style and grace.

Embrace is defined as:

1. to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.

So I see hugging my kids and hubs much more this year. Maybe not so much on others....its a thing with me. So not touchy, feely. But I'll work on it.

2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.

I've got one old enough to get her license this year. Not ready. But I do need to embrace this idea.

3. to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.

I will try to recognize opportunities that come my way. It would be lovely if the right job would fall in my lap. (Can I get an Amen to that one????)

4. to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.): to embrace Buddhism.

Or how about even a new way of seeing things?

5. to take in with the eye or the mind.

With grace please.

6. to encircle; surround; enclose.

Especially my friends and family and those just in need.

7. to include or contain: An encyclopedia embraces a great number of subjects.

The more you learn....

So how about you? If you haven't already, think about a single word that sums up your goal for the coming year. I'd love to hear what your word is.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Autumn's Top 20 Things Learned in 2010

Most years we get to this point and are looking forward and making our resolutions for the new year. I thought I might like to take a look back and think about the things I learned this last year instead.

(Doesn't that sound so much easier than making resolutions you know you are never going to carry all the way through on anyways????) goes....

1. Cars with liability only insurance should not be run into fire hydrants.

2. It's called an estimate for a reason. That reason is because they always call back and need more money after you agree to the estimate price. Just stop answering the phone.

3. High school teachers are not above finding a way onto your child's private Facebook page and then bullying them.

4. High school students don't always want you to do the right thing and shake things up at the school.

5. Children that don't speak or make much noise for 5 years can find the on switch and turn the volume all the way up. At home or in a store check-out line being the most likely spots.

6. An abnormal child finding their feet and becoming a normal child can be frustrating. Until you remind yourself that this is NORMAL and it is GOOD. Just roll with it.

7. Six year olds are the most fun at Christmas.

8. Teenagers get cars so young cause mom's just can't be that many places at once. Not because they are old enough or mature enough at 16 to handle the responsibility of trying not to kill themselves or someone else.

9. Camping in a state without fire ants and over 100 degree weather is actually loads of fun. And scaring little girls at "haunted" cabins in the woods at night is a blast.

10. I like canoeing.

11. Braces cost more than the car you are going to put that teen in. And catching that teen chewing gum is a punishable offense.

12. My children, my sisters children and one other friends children are the only ones left on the face of the earth that send thank-you cards/notes. I have no idea if well over half the gifts I send are ever even received.

13. Making quilts for others is very satisfying. Creating something from a pile of fabric appeals to the artistic side...even if its only beginner stuff.

14. After being married a million years, a non-jewelry buying husband can surprise you with jewelry. And then tell you it went nothing like the commercials!! LOL! (Probably should be rated as #1.)

15. No matter how old I get I still HATE fundraisers. Including Girl Scout Cookies.

16. There actually is a past place we've lived that I want to go back to and stay forever.

17. No matter how I try to prepare myself....I still loath snow. Hate cold. And want to go back to Texas. (Although this would be my 2nd choice of places to retire.)

18. Be careful what you wish for. I have wanted to adopt again since bringing Mouse home. Hubs has not. He's done. So I've honored that but my heart was not settled on it by any means. Then, we were in a situation where I had to consider we might be expanding our household by two. It sort of felt like God was asking me if I was sure. And I am sure now that I DON'T need to adopt again. Or at least not look to adopt - if that makes sense.

19. Having another person close to your age talk about a young actor close to your son's age and how hot he so far beyond gross its not funny. Being appreciative of the good looks is fine...drooling is not.

20. There is nobody MORE blessed than myself and my family. They might be blessed different...but not MORE.

Looking forward to 2011 and all the things we are facing at this point in life. I predict a year of quick changes and big changes and lots of rolling with the punches. But hey, I've got the best rolling partner around!